Not having the fear of God before her eyes: enforcement of the criminal law in the early Canterbury settlement 1853-1862
This paper looks at the criminal cases heard in the Supreme Court and the Resident Magistrate’s Courts in Lyttleton and Christchurch in the first decade of the Canterbury settlement. It reports the results, so far, of research into the range of offences prosecuted, the choices made between civil and criminal actions, the manner in which the “general” criminal law was imposed and special features of the penal laws enforced by the courts. An account of findings as to the range of defendants in both courts, and the punishments imposed on them, is given. The paper also looks at some notable cases to consider insights they give into early Canterbury society and prevailing attitudes.